Scandal at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (otherwise known as SUNY Poly) has resulted in 38 layoffs. The news comes shortly after its former leader, Alain E. Kaloyeros, resigned after being charged with campaign of fraud, bribery, bid-rigging, and conspiracy.
Bahgat Sammakia, interim President at SUNY Poly, said the jettisoned positions were all based in Albany and include support staff. No research faculties were affected.
Sammakia said the layoffs are part of a bigger restructuring effort that is expected to save the school $10.0 million annually. SUNY Poly currently employs 1,100 and combines education in nanotechnology with other high-tech fields.
“We support President Sammakia’s willingness to make the difficult strategic decisions necessary to put SUNY Poly on stronger financial footing and place even greater focus on excellence in research and innovation,” said Jason Conwall, a spokesman for Empire State Development Corporation.
Kaloyeros is a nanotech expert that helped lead many of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to land high-tech jobs in New York. He stepped down last October after both state and federal prosecutors charged him with influencing state contracts to businesses with close ties to Cuomo. With a salary of $800,000, Kaloyeros was the state’s highest paid employee.
Kaloyeros and seven others were arrested last Septmber over his involvement with two Cuomo administration programs: “Buffalo Billion” and “Nano.” Cuomo promised to invest $1.0 billion into Buffalo Billion, a move that was expected to revitalize the depleted city of Buffalo. However, the investment though turned sour when federal investigators sought to find out how the money and contracts were distributed.
The state officially postponed approving putting $500.0-million into the “SolarCity” power company project, which has support from Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Elon Musk. The project was looking to open a solar panel factory on the Buffalo River. Legislatures in Albany implies that additional oversight would be given to the initiative.
In the past, Cuomo has spoke positively about what Buffalo Billion has accomplished, suggesting it created new jobs and buildings, as well as fostered positivity. However, federal investigators are more interested in seeing which businesses benefit from the economic initiatives, including developers, donors, and groups that donated to the governor.
Cuomo maintains that SUNY Poly is responsible for the bulk of the scandal. “I appoint people to the State university board,” he said, “but it’s not my office.”
This is in sharp contract to the praise Cuomo usually heaps on SUNY Poly and the efforts of Kaloyeros.
Kaloyeros meanwhile, also faces state charges alleging he worked to rig a bid for a student housing project for an Albany-area developer.
“SUNY Poly laying off 38 in wake of scandal,” NY Daily News, July 14, 2017.
“Cuomo Insider, Caught in Albany Corruption Case, Leaves Post at SUNY,” The New York Times, October 11, 2017.
“One Billion Went To Buffalo. Cuomo Donors Benefitted,” The New York Times, May 24, 2016.